Insights Revealed: UB STELA Scholars Stand Out at the First Regional Conference on Gender, Health, and Wellbeing

In a timely alignment with Women’s Month, Benguet State University, through its Institute of Social Research and Development (ISRD), spearheaded the first Regional Conference on Gender, Health, and Wellbeing on March 20-21, 2024. The aim, as highlighted by ISRD Director Ann Heather Kiwang, was to bring together experts in these fields to share insights and discuss policy implications. Keynote addresses by prominent figures such as DOH-CAR Statistician Jhorgin Dongbo and PRO-Cordillera Chief Regional for Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) PMAJ Marcy Grace Marron set the stage, providing vital insights into the latest data and updates on pertinent social issues faced by the region.

Photograph Courtesy of UPAO Benguet State University

Following these addresses, the conference featured presentations of various research results from student, faculty, and staff researchers hailing from different colleges and universities across the region, including Apayao State College-Conner Campus, Benguet State University, Cordillera Career Development College, Ifugao State University, and notably, the University of Baguio. Among the standout presentations were those delivered by Ms. Jabine D. Mackachi and Ms. Pepcee A. Foken, both students from the School of Teacher Education and Liberal Arts (STELA) at the University of Baguio.

Photograph Courtesy of UPAO Benguet State University

Ms. Mackachi, a BS Psychology student, presented on “Social Constructions of Internalized Sexism among Young Adult Filipino Women,” which meticulously examined internalized sexism within the Philippine context. Through qualitative analysis, Mackachi’s group identified key themes including Sexism towards the Self and Fellow Women, Perpetuation of Gender Role Expectations, Experiences of Cognitive Dissonance and Self-Doubts, Objectification of Fellow Women, and their various effects on young adult Filipino women. Her research not only highlighted the prevalence and harmful impact of internalized sexism but also advocated for further examination within various contexts such as the LGBTQ+ community to foster inclusivity.

In contrast, Ms. Pepcee Foken, a student in the BA Political Science program, showcased her group’s thesis titled “The Struggle of Women’s Civic Organization in the Indigenous Community: A Case Study of Bontoc Women’s Brigade”. Foken delved into the challenges faced by the Bontoc Women’s Brigade, a civic organization within indigenous communities. Utilizing focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, she pinpointed factors contributing to the organization’s decline, such as aging members and waning interest from the younger generation. Foken emphasized gender-specific challenges, cultural norms, and issues related to women’s empowerment, stressing the necessity for tailored strategies to address these dynamics.

As representatives of the University of Baguio, Jabine D. Mackachi and Pepcee A. Foken exemplified the institution’s unwavering commitment to academic excellence and societal impact. Their exemplary work serves as a testament to the university’s dedication to nurturing scholars who are not only academically proficient but also socially conscious and empathetic towards pressing societal issues.

Written by Jabine Mackachi and Maria Victoria Santiago

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